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Dave Roepke, Published December 02 2009

Two hit-and-runs yield one arrest

A Moorhead woman accused of a hit-and-run early Sunday was arrested after she was a victim of another hit-and run moments later, authorities said Tuesday.

Michelle Torres, 20, faces nearly two dozen charges connected to the accident, which happened just before 1 a.m. on Sunday outside the American Legion in Halstad, Minn., said Jeremy Thornton, chief deputy for the Norman County Sheriff’s Office.

Thornton said Torres drove a 1997 Ford Contour on the sidewalk in front of the Legion, striking at least seven people. Officials have no reports of any of the pedestrians suffering serious injuries, he said.

Investigators believe Torres then kept driving, though not for long. Thornton said her vehicle was struck by a driver failing to yield at an intersection two blocks from the Legion.

The driver of that car left the scene and is sought by authorities, he said, while Torres was arrested at the scene.

Though charged in Norman County District Court, Torres appeared in court in Polk County in Crookston, Minn., on Tuesday, where’s she’s being held by Tri-County Community Corrections on bail of $50,000 bond or $5,000 cash.

Thornton said investigators aren’t yet sure exactly how fast Torres was going, though it was “apparently a high rate of speed,” and they believe alcohol was a factor.

Torres faces nearly two dozen charges: nine felonies, 13 gross misdemeanors and a misdemeanor.

The charges include seven counts of second-degree assault, all felonies, and 14 counts of criminal vehicular operation, two of them felonies and the rest gross misdemeanors. She also faces two charges for drinking and driving.

Authorities could end up filing additional charges if more victims from outside the Legion are identified, Thornton said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535